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Vessel of Spirit
from the Litany of Loreto
The theme of this title is containment.
Mary is the vessel of safekeeping and incubation.
She is the baptismal font of new life.
She is the tabernacle.
In Judaism, the tabernacle is womblike and
contains all of God's revelation that is
nonetheless continually unfolding.
It is not a binder of old texts, but a releaser
of new and neverending revelations.
The Great Mother was seen as the container of all that
is. A dark side of containing captivity,
in which the feminine energy ensnares us and inhibits us.
In the aspect she crushes independence -
a feature taken over, like most of the dark side of the feminine,
by the patriarchy.
The Egyptian goddess of the sky is Nut. Her image, with embracing arms,
was painted in a sarcophagus so she could 'hold' the dead body
and thereby prepare it for resurrection.
The Great Mother was seen in many traditions as holding us
in the container of a grave, the incubator of rebirth.
In every image of the Great Mother we see Mary.
Mary is called a Vessel of Spirit,
a Vessel of Honour and the Singular Vessel of Devotion.
These titles were added to the Litany in medieval times when
alchemy was popular. Alchemy was not literally about
transforming lead into the gold.
The vessel in which the leaden ego is transformed into the gold
of spiritual wholeness is the spiritual enterprise represented by the
science of alchemy. The Litany avers that the alchemical
transformation that is our spiritual destiny can happen in the body
of the divine feminine, that is, in the cosmos.
In the metaphor of the alchemical vessel, we encounter
the two maternal themes of forming and transforming.
We see Mary then as the vessel of gestation of Christ
and of all of us.
The painful process of letting go of self-centredness occurs
so that the gold of God-centred wholeness can appear.
extract from When Mary becomes Cosmic by David Richo